Govt to scale up Ibyiringiro project

The Government plans to scale up activities covered under a project dubbed Ibyiringiro that aims at enhancing food security and improving nutrition for vulnerable people living with HIV/Aids and Orphan Vulnerable Children (OVC).

The Government plans to scale up activities covered under a project dubbed Ibyiringiro that aims at enhancing food security and improving nutrition for vulnerable people living with HIV/Aids and Orphan Vulnerable Children (OVC).

This was announced last week as the Catholic Relief Services formally handed over the project to government after five years of operation. The project covered 24 districts countrywide.

The Ibyiringiro activities have since 2008 been implemented through a consortium comprising ACDI/VOCA, Africare, Caritas Nyundo, EGPAF and World Vision, all led by Catholic Relief Services, through the USAID support and collaboration of Rwanda Biomedical Centre and the Ministry of Agriculture.

The project puts emphasis on food security through agriculture activities, to improve nutrition through food processing, enhancing savings culture through Saccos and enabling beneficiaries to join income-generating activities through cooperatives, and health services by fighting mother to child HIV new infection.

According to the head of the project, Dr Salomon Rakotovazaha, 89 per cent of the project beneficiaries are HIV-positive.

Benefits

Not only has the programme benefited them in improving their nutrition but it has also promoted self esteem among HIV-positive persons and some of them have become models in their areas depending on what they deliver to the society, Dr Rakotovazaha said at the handover ceremony in Kigali.

Statistics show that after five years, 93 per cent are out of malnutrition, 51 per cent of households initiated economic activities, 50 per cent of beneficiaries covered their health insurance, 98 per cent got small animals, whereas 99 per cent of households have modern kitchen garden in the areas of operation.

Dr Mark Herant, the director of Rwanda Biomedical Centre, who represented Ministry of Health at the function, said they are targeting to scale up the best practices from the projects to other districts.

Catholic Relief Society Country Director LeAnn Hager said they chose to hand over the project to government since they have seen its commitment to the project. She said they are looking forward to invest in other projects with positive impact on the population.

Jessica Lapenn, who represented the US Embassy, commended the project partners for their achievements and called on government and beneficiaries to ensure sustainability.

The project has benefited 24 districts countrywide and reached 26,000 beneficiaries.
 
Beneficiaries speak out

Joseph Munyaneza, 56, from Kayonza, said he was bedridden when he learnt that he was HIV-positive in 2008, but the lessons from Ibyiringiro helped him ‘recover’ and undertake economical activities using loans from savings groups and their internal lending.

“We were the first to undertake establishment of kitchen gardens which were then considered as gardens for HIV-positive people. But the whole country has embraced the project. Since I learned hygiene, balanced nutrition, I am growing healthier, from 38 kilogrammes in 2008 I now weigh 56,” he said.

Philomène Mukangenzi, 52, from Nyamagabe District, represents Kodemeri cooperative from where she learned food processing. They make bread, biscuits and cakes from sweet potatoes. She said beyond generating income from food processing, they have been able to tackle malnutrition.

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